Top 10 lessons for the new Mac user

Christopher Breen Senior Editor Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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My hope is that you’ve been directed to this story by a caring friend or relative—so caring, in fact, that their holiday generosity extended to giving you a new Mac.

“Oh my goodness!” you chirped.

“Oh how wonderful!” you crowed.

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Making the most of iMovie's lesser-known features

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In past iMovie lessons we’ve talked about working with the application’s interface, importing media, constructing a basic movie project, creating trailers, and dealing with iMovie’s more persnickety editing features. It’s time to put a bow on the series by taking note of a few remaining features that you’ll find helpful in your moviemaking.

Adding a time stamp to your movies

Senior contributor Jeff Carlson explained how this was done in the previous version of iMovie. The technique has changed very little. To add a time stamp to your clips, follow along.

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Exploring iMovie's editing options

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In the past two lessons, I showed you how to piece together a basic iMovie project as well as how to create an iMovie trailer. Helpful as those lessons were, much of iMovie 10’s editing power is hidden. Now it’s time to unearth those features. We’ll start with making more-exacting edits.

The clip trimmer

As you’ve learned, within the timeline you can drag the bottom corners of a clip’s edge to shorten or lengthen the clip (assuming, in the latter case, that you’re not already working with the entire original clip). This is a perfectly reasonable way to trim clips, but in a way you’re working in the dark: You can’t see what precedes or follows the edges of the clip. This is where the clip trimmer comes in.

Stabilization: Two controls appear when you select the Stabilization control—Stabilize Shaky Video and Reduce Rolling Shutter Distortion. And they do what, exactly?

Suppose you’re filming your surroundings with your iPhone while traveling through a nature preserve in a car with poor shocks on a road full of deep potholes. To help reduce the chance that your audience will suffer motion sickness from your movie, it would be nice if you could remove some of the bouncing from your footage. With the Stabilize Shaky Video option, you can. Enable the option, and iMovie will analyze the selected clip, looking for shaky video. When it completes its analysis, it crops the video to cut out the edges, and at the same time it attempts to take the shake out of the remaining frame. The more stabilization you apply (from 0 to 100 percent), the greater the crop will likely be.

Rolling shutter is a distortion effect that you can get when certain kinds of camera sensors are tasked with capturing a lot of movement or subjected to some varieties of pulsing or flickering light. iMovie will attempt to remove this effect when you enable the Fix Rolling Shutter option. You can choose how much of the option to apply—Low, Medium, High, or Extra High. If you notice the problem, start with Low and work your way up if the currently selected setting doesn’t improve your movie. (Undo the last setting by clicking the Undo arrow icon to the right, and then try the next highest setting.)

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How to create iMovie 10 trailers

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In our last lesson we looked at building a straightforward iMovie project—the kind of movie you might throw together of the family gathered over a holiday meal or, in warmer times of the year, frolicking in the gush of an untended hydrant. Such movies allow you to piece together as much material as you like, which can be great if you’re the creator of Star Wars 4 – 6 Legomania! and less terrific if you’re the poor sap subjected to 90 full minutes of Baby’s First Bath!

Fortunately, iMovie 10 also offers you a way to create videos that are necessarily limited to a running time of just over or under a minute. They’re called trailers and, like the countless movie trailers we’ve seen in theaters and appended to DVDs, are heavily templated. Here’s how they work.

Previewing the trailers

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Constructing an iMovie project

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Given the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States and all that comes with it, in the near future many of you are likely to be launching a copy of iMovie to piece together movies of family and friends. For this reason, we’ll skip many of the finer points in our “Getting Started With iMovie 10” series and move directly to creating a straightforward iMovie project.

You’re familiar with iMovie’s interface, and you know how to import media. Now it’s a matter of placing the media you want in the timeline, adding transitions and titles, and exporting the resulting movie to a form that other people can view.

Creating a movie and adding clips

Adding background music

You’ll be amazed at how a five-minute video of little Buster and his pal Jeanie soaking each other in the kiddie pool becomes less tedious when it’s accompanied by a toe-tapping musical track. To add one, choose iTunes under the Content Library heading (or press Command-4). As with transitions and titles, you’ll see the contents of your iTunes library in the Browser pane. Drag a track that you’d like to use as background music into the music track that appears below iMovie’s timeline (the one marked with musical notes).

Make your movie more interesting by adding background music.
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Importing media into iMovie 10

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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As you may recall, the last time we gathered we took three giant steps back and started over with the “How to Use iMovie” series. The idea was that we should be looking at the latest iteration of the application, and that iteration is iMovie 10. In the first lesson we took a stroll through iMovie’s interface. This time it’s all about importing media. Ready? Let’s begin.

The import business

In earlier versions of iMovie, import options were scattered about the interface. If you wanted to import movies stored on your Mac, you chose File > Import and then the appropriate command. To import clips from an attached camera, you chose File > Import From Camera. To record live video from a camera attached to your Mac, you’d issue that same command or click the Camera Import button in iMovie’s toolbar. iMovie 10 attempts to simplify matters by placing all these functions in a single window that you can access by clicking the Import button in the toolbar or by choosing File > Import Media.

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Getting started with iMovie 10

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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When we last gathered in these hallowed halls, Apple had released Mavericks and I gave you a tour of its most visible new features. Prior to that, we were just getting into the mechanics of iMovie ’11. But wouldn’t you know it, Apple released a new version of that program as well. And that leaves us where?

As the keeper of these classes, I’ve formed a plan. A plan that goes a little like this: Nearly everything I’ve taught you about the Mac in these Mac 101 lessons is just as applicable today as it was when I wrote the original lessons. Mavericks has a handful of new features, but it’s not a radical departure from Mountain Lion. So there’s no reason to start again. Similarly, the new iPhoto is nearly a carbon copy of the previous version, so we can leave it alone too. The new iMovie 10, however, is different enough from its predecessor that it makes sense to reboot that series, this time focusing on what it has to offer.

So open your notebooks, update your copy of iMovie (it’s free if you already have a copy on your Mac), and let’s begin.

The Project pane

The large Project pane at the bottom of the iMovie window is for assembling your movie. By default the Project pane displays clips in a fairly traditional timeline view, rather than wrapping clips through the pane as if they were part of a long ribbon. If you like the ribbon approach, choose View > Wrapping Timeline.

A traditional timeline appears by default in iMovie's Project pane.
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